About

Legal Towns is focused on real estate and the customs and rules that shape urban development. I’m especially interested in how the patterns of traditional urbanism developed over many centuries across Europe and the Mediterranean and shaped the neighborhoods of American towns and cities prior to World War II.

I have also written in favor of policies that allow more new housing units to be built, and allow builders to integrate resourceful and traditional approaches (safely, of course) into their work. I became interested in the role of codes in development patterns when I saw people being displaced from their long-time communities across the New York & New Jersey region in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and realized that a similar pattern was being repeated in many regions. Since then, the soaring cost of housing in growing regions has become a major factor in the economic challenges facing people under 40 and people with moderate incomes in many of the world’s most dynamic regions. A rediscovery of traditional urbanism could be part of a solution. With more flexible regulations, growing neighborhoods could respond to the needs of real people, and the forms of traditional urbanism could shape beautiful, sustainable growth.

I have a dual degree in law and urban planning. I am a planner in New York City. Previously, I’ve been a senior research associate at the Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research and Baruch College’s Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, and have practiced law. I’ve also completed research for the Regional Plan Association’s office in Princeton, and have written about urban planning for New Urbs, a Driehaus Foundation-sponsored feature at the non-partisan American Conservative; for City Journal; for the Newman Real Estate Institute’s white papers series; and for the Metro New York TOD Newsletter. My photos have appeared on CNN and in marketing materials for several real estate companies throughout the tri-state area.

I can be reached by email at theo@theopollack.com.

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